They simply shrugged their shoulders and said something about it being just another game, but for Jalen Hurts and Jalen Reagor, they are returning to their home state on Monday to play the Dallas Cowboys in primetime.
“It’s just the next game on the schedule, said Reagor, the Eagles’ second-year WR. “I’m here, so I play for Philly, so I’m not really worried too much about it being a homecoming for me. I’m going out there with green on. I’m going out there to get the job done. It’s always good going home, but I have one goal in mind.”
No doubt, one of Reagor’s goal is to have more of an impact than he last Sunday when he inadvertently stepped out of bounds – or pushed – that negated a 36-yard touchdown catch. He finished with two catches on five targets for just five yards.
Reagor grew up in Waxahachie, about a 45-minute drive south of Dallas.
Hurts grew up much further away than Dallas, doing so in a Houston suburb. He was even far less effusive than Reagor about any sort of homecoming when asked what it meant to him to be returning to the state that raised him to be an NFL quarterback.
“Not too much,” said Hurts. “It’s just going back home, going to play in Texas.”
With the Eagles playing the Cowboys on a Monday night, there was an extra day this week to pick through the debris of a disappointing loss to the San Francisco 49ers last Sunday.
Head coach Nick Sirianni said he “drug myself through the mud pretty good this week, and for – you know, hey, I should have. There were plays that didn’t’ work.”
At some point, though, he realized he has to get over that thinking and move on.
“You got to switch your mode and be, like, ‘No, I'm here because I'm a good coach and I'm ready to go and get our guys in the best position to beat Dallas I possibly can,’” the coach said. “And there's got to be a switch that flips. And so, what helped me this week is – just the preparation, like, ‘Hey, trust your preparation, trust what you did all week, trust the seven hours you spent on third down that you want to make that call. The other seven hours on red zone that you made educated decisions here, trust that process.’
"Trust your process, stick to your gut, trust your process, be ready to adjust.”
Sirianni said he has plenty of coaches to help him flip that switch and help with play-calling, even pointing out Jim Bob Cooter as one as Cooter exited the building just outside the media tent where press conferences are held. He also mentioned offensive coordinastor Shane Steichen, passing game coordinator Kevin Patullo, tight ends coach Jason Michael, offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland, and quarterback coach Brian Johnson.
“I mean, my goodness, I got great guys at my disposal to help me make good decisions,” said Sirianni. “And so, my thought is there, again, trust your process of what I went through and what this staff has went through all week, and then lean on guys that have had good experience calling plays in this league.”
Whether or not Zach Ertz will play is still up in the air after being placed on the Reserve/COVID list earlier in the week. Because he is vaccinated, he only has to pass two COVD tests in a 24-hour span to be cleared for return.
Sirianni is drawing up two different game plans – one with Ertz, one without.
“Everything has to be double-planned,” he said. “You have to back it up of what you want to have in. Do you want to be in 12-personnel, do you want to be in 11-personnel? And so you just have to back up everything.
“And so that just means a little more preparation on some of the wideout spots. Maybe on Jack Stoll, also. But that's just the way it goes in these scenarios.”
SPEAKING OF STOLL
Sirianni likes what he has seen of the undrafted free agent thus far.
Stoll has played 18 offensive snaps in two games, but has yet to be targeted in the pass game.
“I think with Zach and with Dallas [Goedert] you're, like, ‘Oh, Jack's just a blocker,’ and that's part of his role, but he can catch the football,” said the coach. “He runs good routes. He's technically sound. I'm really pleased that we have him on this team. And great job to our staff, our scouting staff of finding that undrafted free agent that's made the team. That's an awesome thing.
“So, yeah, we got high hopes for Jack and we're happy with the way he's been playing in his role so far.”
Two names cropped up on the team’s Thursday injury report to keep an eye on as the countdown to Monday’s game continues – RB Miles Sanders and C Jason Kelce.
Kelce (foot) did not participate during Thursday’s practice, which was moved indoors due to heavy rain in the area. Others not practicing were DT Fletcher Cox (illness, resting player), DT Hassan Ridgeway (illness), and LB Davion Taylor (calf).
Sanders was listed as a limited participant (chest). Also limited WR J.J. Arcega-Whiteside (ankle), and S Rodney McLeod (knee).
QUOTE OF THE DAY
“It’s always a challenge. One of the best in the game. he’s an athlete, he’s a pro at what he does and we’ve been in a lot of battles, good battles at that. We’ve been seeing each other for a long time. He’s been in the league seven years, I’ve been in the league nine. We’ve got a great understanding of each other.” – Eagles CB Darius Slay on Cowboys WR Amari Cooper.